Early morning, clear day, I boarded the overground underground.
And so did you.
My breath caught, tunnel vision. 5 months now, can’t help.
Black shirt, white buttons, hands in pockets of black trousers. Black duffel bag, at your white stan smith feet.
Hair, dirty blonde, tendrils wet clean from a shower, pushed back.
Round rim glasses, on your slightly crooked nose. Lips, parted. Eyes blue as fuck.

We were facing each other, standing. You didn’t look my way.
I looked yours.
I began to look small, timid, shy, quiet. Display.
I caught myself. I began to panic; ‘why that, why small? who are you’
I acted spacious, haughty, IDGAF.
You didn’t look my way.

In my mind appeared a vision of your girlfriend. Perfectly formed.
Small, quirky, Fashion. Hang off your arm hang on your words but shoot you down.
Lucy Liu, Lucky Number Slevin. (Where do these things come from?)
The things I’m not, cannot.
Then it struck me, the similarity, to him. That panicked me further.
I turned away, as the train moved, shifted my feet.
I turned back. You gazed, into space. No headphones.
Me, neutral now, just looking, shaken by my insides. My station arrived.

I saw him again, recently, months later. ‘Head in the clouds’.
I saw something different. Things had changed, for me.
I saw artful crafting, utter care. Head firmly right here, look at me.
I briefly imagined a different girlfriend, now.
Blonde, your identical,
stan smith match grand slam twins.
Thousands upon thousands of pounds between you. But nothing really to say, but complaint.
I walked my way, away.

The rich kids I met in college were flailing as though they wanted to find walls around them, leapt as though they wanted there to be gravity and to hit ground, even bottom, but parents and privilege kept throwing out safety nets and buffers, kept padding the walls and picking up the pieces, so that all their acts were meaningless, literally inconsequential. They floated like astronauts in outer space.

– Rebecca Solnit, here

(audio)

“Neither I nor the poets I love found the keys to the kingdom of prayer and we cannot force God to stumble over us where we sit. But I know that it’s a good idea to sit anyway. So every morning I sit, I kneel, waiting, making friends with the habit of listening, hoping that I’m being listened to. There, I greet God in my own disorder. I say hello to my chaos, my unmade decisions, my unmade bed, my desire and my trouble. I say hello to distraction and privilege, I greet the day and I greet my beloved and bewildering Jesus. I recognise and greet my burdens, my luck, my controlled and uncontrollable story. I greet my untold stories, my unfolding story, my unloved body, my own love, my own body. I greet the things I think will happen and I say hello to everything I do not know about the day. I greet my own small world and I hope that I can meet the bigger world that day. I greet my story and hope that I can forget my story during the day, and hope that I can hear some stories, and greet some surprising stories during the long day ahead. I greet God, and I greet the God who is more God than the God I greet. / Hello to you all, I say, as the sun rises above the chimneys of North Belfast. / Hello.”

– Padraig Ó Tuama

‘Let me take you to ancient Athens, where democracy was first practiced, in a very circumscribed way but nevertheless that is where the idea came from. Let me tell you something about that that weird place: ancient Athens.

There were two adversaries: the aristocrats who were against democracy, and the democrats who were in favour of effectively, as Aristotle defined it, ‘a system in which the poor governed’. Because, by definition the poor are the majority. That was his definition of democracy.

And the interesting thing is, is that the democrats were against elections. Because, they considered elections to be the instrument of the oligarchy. They considered elections to be a system that always privileges those who are the better orators, those who had mastered the art of rhetoric, therefore those who had a better education, who were those? The rich. And what they preferred, as a system, of governance, was lotteries. That’s the history of jury selection. So that, every single office, except that of General and Banker/Treasurer, was selected through sortition; through lotteries.

And it was the aristocrats who wanted elections, because they could win those.’ 

– Yanis Varoufakis

Young people are busy constructing a persona, a self which will deal with the world and its conflicting demands. Through trial and error, that self is built up with accumulated language, with a carefully contrived appearance, with growing practical, intellectual and social skills. Its purpose is to protect the owner from hurt and from shame because shame lurks around every adolescent corner – in sexuality, failure, privacy, friendship – and shame is crippling feeling. 

– Nick Luxmore, Working With Anger and Young People